Sen. Akbari’s CROWN Act passes committee

Legislation seeks to protect men, women wearing natural hairstyles from discrimination

NASHVILLE — Legislation aiming to protect Black men and women wearing natural hairstyles is headed for a vote in the full Tennessee Senate.

It’s called the CROWN Act; CROWN stands for Creating an Open and Respectful World with No Racism.

Under Senate Bill 136 by Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), employers and public schools would be prohibited from discriminating against Black people who choose to wear their hair in a natural state or protective style such as braids, locks or twists.

“Our goal with the CROWN Act is to normalize natural hair. Even today, there’s a lack of familiarity with the protective and natural hair styles worn by many Black women and men and sometimes those misunderstandings lead to people being inappropriately overlooked, excluded or marginalized,” Sen. Akbari said. “With the CROWN Act, we want to ensure that no one experiences discrimination because of their natural hair.”

The bill passed the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee 9–0 on April 21.

The full Senate will vote on the bill next, but a date has not yet been set.

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